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Spanish government proposes launching negotiation table next Monday

Quim Torra laments "unilateral" date for the talks, insisting the dates must be agreed upon together

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19 February 2020 11:46 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The Spanish government has proposed beginning the negotiation table with the Catalan government as early as next Monday, February 24. 

However, Quim Torra has lamented that Madrid has put a "unilateral" date on the beginning of the talks. The Catalan leader insists that the dates must be agreed upon together. 

"Guaranteeing the success" of the negotiations with the Spanish executive is more important to the Catalan government than the dates the talks will take place.

"Hurrying things along is no guarantee that they will go better," said Catalan government spokesperson Meritxell Budó in a press conference on Tuesday, adding that the schedule will not be "rushed."

One of the stumbling blocks to the kicking off of the negotiations has been the question over whether or not to have a mediator in the meetings. 

Quim Torra's Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) party wants there to mediator, something JxCat MP in the Spanish Congress, Laura Borràs, has called an "obligation."

However, Esquerra Republicana (ERC), partners of JxCat in the Catalan government, say there is no need to have anyone fulfill the position.

The ruling Spanish Socialists view the position in the same way as ERC, with their spokesperson María Jesús Montero saying on Tuesday that it is "not a necessary figure" as "the witnesses to the negotiations will be all citizens."

The bilateral negotiation table between the two cabinets has the aim of resolving the current political deadlock in Catalonia, and was one of the conditions that pro-independence ERC set for their abstention in the voting process of naming Pedro Sánchez the president of Spain. 

Madrid made it known publicly on Wednesday that they put forward the idea to the Catalan executive to begin the talks next week.

In Brussels, Catalan Socialists leader Miquel Iceta hopes that the two pro-independence parties can come to an agreement on the negotiation table, saying if they don't "there won't be any date or meeting."

He praised ERC for "reaching an agreement with the Socialists" and expressed hope that similarly a solution can now be found between Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra. 

ERC say meeting is “good news”

Gabriel Rufián, spokesperson for ERC in the Spanish congress, said “It is good news that the table meets as soon as possible," and also celebrated the fact that the Socialists are speaking about complying with the agreement to meet with the Catalan executive.

"I understand that Madrid is proposing a date and it is now necessary for the cabinets to specify it," said Rufián, emphasizing that the "important" thing is for a table to meet.

"We understand that [Pedro Sánchez and Quim Torra] talked about this at their meeting, that the table was due to meet in February. We think it is good news that the table will meet as soon as possible, "he said.

Rufián said he respects others’ ideas and said he did not want to "put more pressure on the table, which already has so much."

 

 

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  • Pedro Sánchez and Quim Torra meet at the Catalan government headquarters in February, 2020 (by Bernat Vilaró)

  • Pedro Sánchez and Quim Torra meet at the Catalan government headquarters in February, 2020 (by Bernat Vilaró)

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